Meet Our Bible Students

Last time I wrote we had just started our home Bible Study group. We were excited about the Buddhist students and friends who were coming. We are now several months down the road. Let me tell you about several young Tai Kadai with whom we have developed friendships through the studies:

Luc is a college studestudy-groupnt and also a very strong English student. His parents are divorced but he feels especially rejected by his father because he’s gay.

Nong is high school student but struggles socially. He considers himself a Christian but his family doesn’t know it yet. He is afraid of what will happen when he tells them.

Roe is college student and local celebrity. As the host of a talk show, his picture appears on several billboards around town. He became a Christian before we met him but has committed himself to following Jesus more fully. His Mom originally brought him to church but she no longer attends so he attends alone.

Jen is a young professional. Recently she called off an engagement with a successful man she hardly knew. Tai Kadai parents are still very much in charge of marriage plans, especially for young women. Marriage to a successful man not only ensures the bride’s future but also benefits her parents. Since Jen ended the engagement, her parents make her life miserable.

Jane is a college student. She studied the Bible for awhile but the world has become very enticing. It seems she is currently being lured away by money and bad influences.

Lou is a teenager but not attending school presently. As an only child, she is indulged. Sadly she’s involved in the spirit world. When she tries to pray, she feels like she is being strangled. But Lou doesn’t want to give up her spirit world connection because she doesn’t have friends.

What do they all have in common? They are all looking for peace, joy and a sense of belonging.

As we meet together on Saturday evenings, we are joined by other teachers, many of whom the students consider their closest and best friends. Friendship is an important part of outreach to Tai Kadai young people. Becoming a Christian can often mean the loss of family and friends.

Our Miracle Home–We believe that our home was a direct gift from God to allow us to host this study group. Toward the end of 2014 our home was burglarized for the second time is just a few months. We knew we needed to move so we began to pray. After examining our budget, we decided we could spend $190/month.

After praying, we started driving around looking for houses (there is no CraigsList here). We stumbled upon a nice house about 20 minutes away from the school but the price was $250/month. Upon visiting the house, we found two large bedrooms with two baths, a large L-shaped living room and a nice sized kitchen, with a porch around the house, on a large lot. Located in a quiet neighborhood with nice neighbors, we loved it!

But we felt it was priced out of our range so we didn’t even make an offer; just stated we couldn’t afford it. The landlord kept going down on at the price, ending at $200. We insisted we could only afford $190 and gave the landlord our phone number if she changed her mind. We didn’t hear anything for a couple days so we thought it had been rented to someone else. Then the landlord called, lowering the price to $191. Again we stated we could only spend $190. It was so tempting to accept but we wanted to be faithful stewards of God’s resources so we declined. Then the landlord finally agreed to $190/month. God gave us a home, large enough for ministry, at the price we could afford. Praise His name!

We know God was leading us to start a home Bible Study group. It is so exciting to see how He works in the lives of our students, to see them grow in knowledge of the Bible, to watch them lead the Bible Study. Please pray for each of these young people that they will have protection from evil and understanding from their families as they continue learning about Jesus.

Editor’s note: Caiden has been conducting seminars in other Tai Kadai communities, equipping believers to use the same Bible Study method to start home groups. If you would like to support Adara and Caiden with either a one-time gift or a monthly gift, please visit www.afmonline.org

Advertisements
Posted in missions | Leave a comment

Learning from The Book

You know that certain thing that you think you’ll never be able to do? For me it’s giving Bible studies– just not my thing. I enjoy participating and have huge respect for people who do lead but leading a Bible Study is for someone else with that talent. I’ve been able to serve and minister to the Tai-Kadai for over four years without giving a Bible study. Surprised? Especially from a missionary?

Over the last several months, I’ve somehow found myself leading Bible studies with several groups. Various people have asked me to join them in facilitating study groups. Jesus’ plan of sending disciples 2-by-2 now makes so much sense to me. I’m thankful God can use anyone who is willing. God gives us the words we need at the moment we need them.  He can empower us to do more for Him than we ever thought possible.

Truthfully, I was hesitant. What would I say? It was a relief to find out that it’s really so simple. As a group, we read the story from the Bible together and then we ask a pre-set list study bibleof questions to all members of the group. The questions ask each person to reflect on how the story reveals God’s character, human nature, and what they can learn from the story. It doesn’t take any special knowledge or an MDiv to lead as long as we’re all depending on the Master of Divinity, the Holy Spirit, to guide. The most personally meaningful thing is that while we see others discovering things for themselves (instead of being told them), we, the facilitators, are discovering new insights from stories we’ve heard a hundred times. When the Holy Spirit is the Knowledgeable One, the depth of the lesson never ends and is just right for each learner.

Over the past couple of months since we moved into our new, very spacious home, Caiden and I have been toying with the idea of having some kind of group meet there. I could be the event planner and he could bring the Word. But as we’ve seen how easy it is to let the Holy Spirit be the leader of the Bible study, we’ve decided to start a group of students studying at our house and we both facilitate. (I’ll tell you more about the miracle of our home next time.)

Let me say that God has been good! Students are coming and discovering the Bible and God. I can’t take any credit. I’m not doing anything but providing the place that He provided for us.

Please, please pray for these students. They have a lot against them as they begin exploring outside Buddhism. Pray for conviction and boldness.

Editor’s Note: If you would like to give a gift of support or become a monthly supporter of Adara and Caiden’s ministry, you can give on-line at www.afmonline.org

Posted in missions | Leave a comment

God Provides–We’re So Thankful

As we started a new year, it hit me how much God has truly blessed in past year. God provides. We can’t argue with the evidence. And we’re so thankful. So we can’t help but share with those around us and with you.

FOOD: We live on a budget. There is only so much money each month. We’re not going hungry but God provides for us in unexpected ways. Hospitality always means eating together; we are fed often by the generosity of others.

  • Friends and co-workers comforted us with dinner after we were robbed a second time.
  • In our new house, the Grandmother who lives behind us feeds us with gifts from her vegetable garden.
  • For an entire month we enjoyed breakfast cereal gifted to us by an AFM family upon return from travel abroad.

TRANSPORTATION—We spend a lot of time traveling, especially Caiden, ministering to the Tai Kadai believers. We have been blessed with motorbikes but when we needed something more, God came through:

  • A friend allowed us to use his bike for a couple months while he was in Australia.
  • Last October, when Caiden’s stepmom died, a friend going out of town that same week, allowed us to use his big highway motorcycle to drive down. God really blessed with a safe journey of 17 hrs one way! Had we been forced to take the bus, it would have cost a lot of money (which we didn’t have as this was just days after we were robbed the second time). A generous friend, hearing of our needs, even gave us gas money.
  • I needed to do business in the neighboring country. Normally I take the bus but by the end of the day I had received four free rides without even asking.
  • It appears God is providing for the purchase of a car in the coming year. This would be
    Caidenmotobike

    Caiden heading out to preach on a rainy Sabbath morning.

    such a boon for Caiden, especially in the rainy season, as he travels to preach at so many congregations in our area. Please continue to pray with us about this.

NEW HOME-As I mentioned, we were robbed twice while living in our first apartment. After the second time, we knew we must find a new home.

  • God gave us house with a lovely yard at exactly the price we could pay.
  • Because the house is large, we are now sharing this blessing with a new volunteer teacher who arrived in December. She uses the spare bedroom and helps with the housework.
  • Oh yes, we were wishing for a dog; two came with the house.
  • Along the way friends have gifted us with their surplus household items from Tupperware to shelving, toothbrushes to kitchenware when we least expected it and exactly when we needed it.

BOOKS—Our school is trying to build up a library to encourage our students’ English language skills and I have books I keep at home.

  • The local international school recently “cleaned out” their library. They donated over 150 children’s books for our library at school and my library at home.

VISIT TO THE STATES—Getting Caiden’s visa into the States this past summer was a lengthy and often discouraging process. But eventually, I was able to show Caiden my family, my home and my country. Many of you prayed for us throughout that frustrating time. Thank you.

  • When we arrived so many opened their hearts to us, gifting us with clothes, necessities, support for our ministry and unforgettable experiences; we returned home with hearts overflowing.
  • We celebrated our first wedding anniversary in the States and are still “happily ever after”-ing.

NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR MINISTRY—There is so much work to be done among the Tai Kadai people but each day we see God’s mighty hand at work in miraculous ways.

  • Just this evening at school, a former student, a bit of a wild child, visited. She shared her views on living with boyfriends, partying, drinking and making lots of money. I then shared with her how, when I trust in God, He provides me with happiness in my marriage and provides for our needs. She asked how she could have that. I suggested she could ask her mom; she laughed. I suggested she could ask Buddha; she rolled her eyes. I told her she could ask Jesus. She told me she’s not ready for that yet, but I’m thankful I could share truths with her from my own life. Another seed is planted. Pray for her. She needs it!

PREPARATION FOR LEADERSHIP—The body of Christ among the Tai Kadai is young, both in age and knowledge of Him. God needs leaders and we believe He called us. This is humbling. So when He provided a way for both of us to continue our education to Master’s degrees, tuition free, beginning this year, He affirmed His calling. This will be a heavy load, adding distance learning with our already busy ministry schedules, but with His help all things are possible.

Truly we have been abundantly blessed this past year. Sometimes God provided things just at the right time when we truly needed them. Other times, it was wishful thinking that materialized and sometimes, like in the case of our Master’s degrees, it was far beyond anything we could have even dreamed. Thank you for being a part of our ministry the past year and for blessing us with your love and continued support.

All we can say is Lord, You’ve been so good. You’ve been so good to me. I’m thankful for all your blessings; giving you all the praise!

What blessings has God given you? Don’t forget to share them with others. We can all sing, with Destiny’s Child “You’ve been so good to me!”

Editor’s Note: If you would like to give a gift of support or become a monthly supporter of Adara and Caiden’s ministry, you can give on-line at www.afmonline.org

Posted in missions, SE Asia | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

God Answers in His Time

Some may remember a woman, Noy, and her family I introduced in May 2013. She was demon possessed and spoke of desiring to eat her infant daughter. After seeking help from many witch doctors, the family gave up and as a final resort, sought the Christians. Caiden and others went to pray and sing at their home for hours over the course of months. We thank God that to this day, over two years later, she is still free from evil control.

However, their problems are far from over. Witch doctors are not a cheap “investment” and this young family went thousands of dollars into debt from her ordeal. Lenders charge daily interest at exorbitant rates and their business was making less than their daily payments. They put their house up for sale for months as well as started a side business with no success. Finally, in November, the village approached them with sad news. If a certain portion of the debt could not be paid off by the end of the month, they would lose their home and shop.

We as church family looked on with broken hearts. No one had the money to help them. We also worried about their faith. Would this shake them and pull them away? As the weeks have gone by, we prayed for and with them and fasted on their behalf.

One of our friends was able to share the story of Hezekiah from 2 Chronicles 32:1-23. He was a righteous king in a line of unrighteous ones. He was mocked for his belief if the living God by a foreign crusading king who pointed to the many previous kingdoms he had destroyed. However, Hezekiah stood firm in his faith.  And because of his steadfast belief, God delivered him and his people from the foreign king. Unshaken faith in the face of hopeless adversity was Hezekiah’s example and we encouraged Noy’s family to hold fast to their faith in God as well.

Early on December 1st, Caiden got a call. Our church’s vegetarian restaurant dNoysHouseecided to expand and will rent their home and shop. Their house is saved! Praise God!  It’s prime property on the main road to the national university, a great location to meet and befriend many new people, to share God’s love and His desire for their health and happiness.

This is a two- fold answer to prayer because not too long ago, the present restaurant was struggling. Closing seemed like a very real option. We prayed it would stay open as a means of evangelism in an unfriendly country. God has blessed and now it can even expand!

God is good. He is always in time. Just ask Noy’s family.

Editor’s Note:  As a the year draws to a close Adara and Caiden would like to thank all who have supported their ministry this year.  In the coming year, a regular gift monthly, of any many amount, would mean Adara and Caiden have the assurance of your continuing support. Please consider becoming a monthly supporter of their continuing ministry to the Tai-Kadai people of Asia.

Posted in missions | Leave a comment

Urgent Prayer Request

A few weeks before left to go to America, we got news that Caiden’s stepmother had had a stroke. We began asking God to show His love and healing power to his family. They needed to know, without a doubt, that healing was from Him, not Buddhist luck. Her strength fluctuated between sitting up and conversing to lying down with paralyzed appendages.

After we returned, Caiden got a call that one of Stepmom’s relatives is Christian. This relative shared about Jesus and she was interested. God finally opened a door of opportunity for which Caiden has prayed for many years. He always dreamed of sharing Jesus with them. In the past Caiden talked with them and gave them a Bible, but nothing ever came of it.

Several weeks ago Caiden and another pastor traveled back to his home and were allowed to pray with her. They stayed up until midnight sharing with the people in of the village. They had brought some Christian reading materials with them. Since Caiden’s father is the chief of the village and much-loved, there were always people coming to the house. His father passed out the pamphlets for people to read while visiting. Through her sickness, roadmany people were able to hear of a God who is powerful and loving.

Editor’s Note: Adara wrote this several days ago in preparation for an Update. Tuesday night Stepmom passed away. Adara and Caiden traveled more than 8 hours by motocycle to the village to comfort Father. Pray that the Holy Spirit will work mightily through them as they share the Good News of salvation and resurrection with Father, other family members and the villagers who gather to honor Stepmom’s life.

Every gift, large or small, helps further the mission. Donors who make a monthly commitment to support Adara and Caiden provide something extra—a sense of security, knowing they have constant support for which they don’t have to constantly ask, so they can focus on the real mission….giving the good news of Jesus to the Tai-Kadai. Click to Support Adara

Posted in missions | Leave a comment

Curses Again

Honey (I’ve written about her several times) has a younger cousin getting married soon. The family is getting ready for the occasion but the excitement also got Grandmother thinking.

“Why aren’t you married yet?” she asked Honey, who is over thirty and considered old now. Honey’s had boyfriends in the past, but nothing ever came of them. She loses interest, seemingly accepting her single status. “Maybe someone has put a curse on you so that you won’t ever be able to find someone to be happy with,” was Grandmother’s response.

Grandmother is a ‘special person’, meaning she has a close relation with the spiritual world. Let’s be plain: she’s a witch doctor. Using this knowledge and power, grandmother decided she’d “help” Honey get rid of the perceived curse. In much of Buddhism, just a short ceremony can ‘cure’ a problem.

Honey lay on the floor and Grandmother placed four chicken eggs on her body is various places. Next, a candle was lit. Grandmother prayed over Honey; then put the candle in her mouth to extinguish the flame. The belief is that the eggs in the ceremony take away the curse. To see the results, the eggs were cracked to reveal dark spots in two of the eggs while the other two were smelly and rotten.

As Honey recalled the experience, she emphasized that she wasn’t completely sure she believed the curse or the ceremony; skepticism was written on her face as I asked her questions about what it all meant.  

I’m thankful she’s skeptical as are so many younger generation Buddhists. They’ve been taught traditions which have been followed by their family for hundreds of years. Traditional ceremonies abound: releasing birds or fish, praying over banana leaf boxes and more are all things this generation has been taught will save them. Respect and honor within the family unit is one of the deepest core values, so, coupled with the concept that all religions are right, Honey and other young Buddhists take part in the ceremonies without having to decide if it’s real, right or true. 

Pray for Honey. Pray that she’ll evaluate the things she knows about her family’s religion and what she’s learned and experienced with God.  We’re praying that she’ll take the next step to seek God as the One and Only God, the One who is the Great Matchmaker and Personal Savior. 

Just in case you think this only happens on the other side of the world, be assured this isn’t so far away from your own culture. Grandmother actually lives in Idaho and will be going home soon. Pray for your neighbors, that whether they are witch doctors or Christians, they will seek God more deeply.

Posted in missions | Leave a comment

Seeing Through New Lenses

I have been recently wrestling with how to share with the Tai-Kadai in a way that would be meaningful to them. The longer I’m here, the more I see that I don’t understand the beliefs and nuances that guide my friend’s lives. This has led to some searching and I’ve discovered:

Image1. The Tai-Kadai need to see the love of God. Buddhism doesn’t have a ‘love’ factor in its belief system. It’s works based where someday if you stop killing so many animals and give lots of alms to the monks, you might get lucky enough to move up the reincarnation ladder.

2. The Tai-Kadai need to see that salvation is free. My neighbors recently spent about $7,000 on their annual celebration to honor several of their dead relatives. The more a good Tai-Kadai gives to the temple, to the ancestors, to beggars, to elder families members, etc. the more luck they accumulate. Friends have spent untold dollars on paper trees, colored strings, and lucky fish or birds to release just for a possibility of immediate help in time of need or hope for the future.

3. The Tai-Kadai need to see that not all roads lead at Heaven. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard, “Buddhism and Christianity are both good because they make you do good.” This spiritual view insinuates ‘we’re both nice people and we do what makes us feel good so there’s no reason to evaluate and possibly change.’

As I stumbled on these revelations, they were so eye opening. However, I’m almost ashamed to say that I shouldn’t have been so surprised. Look what God told us (Very paraphrased by me):

  •  For God is so in love with you and me, His artistry, that He gave His Son as a means of getting us back in relation with Him. John 3:16
  • God’s favor towards us saves you and me; there’s nothing we can do and, oh yeah, by the way, it’s a gift from God. Eph 2:8
  • Jesus told them straight,” I’m the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There aren’t any other side roads or alternative highways to God in Heaven.” John 14:6

We as Christians have known this stuff for a couple thousand years. How could I have not seen it so soon? I’m happy to say that God doesn’t sigh and give up on me. Sometimes I just have to relearn His promises through new lenses.

And did you notice a theme? The Tai-Kadai need to see these truths which were so eye-opening to me. Good thing God gives us new lenses. These truths need to be shared in action, in contact with these friends so they can plainly behold and become changed.

Posted in missions | Leave a comment